US20050072995A1 - Magnetic memory - Google Patents

Magnetic memory Download PDF

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US20050072995A1
US20050072995A1 US10/679,564 US67956403A US2005072995A1 US 20050072995 A1 US20050072995 A1 US 20050072995A1 US 67956403 A US67956403 A US 67956403A US 2005072995 A1 US2005072995 A1 US 2005072995A1
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magnetic
magnetic layer
sense
memory
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Thomas Anthony
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Samsung Electronics Co Ltd
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Hewlett Packard Development Co LP
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01LSEMICONDUCTOR DEVICES; ELECTRIC SOLID STATE DEVICES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H01L27/00Devices consisting of a plurality of semiconductor or other solid-state components formed in or on a common substrate
    • H01L27/22Devices consisting of a plurality of semiconductor or other solid-state components formed in or on a common substrate including components using galvano-magnetic effects, e.g. Hall effects; using similar magnetic field effects
    • H01L27/222Magnetic non-volatile memory structures, e.g. MRAM
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01LSEMICONDUCTOR DEVICES; ELECTRIC SOLID STATE DEVICES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H01L43/00Devices using galvano-magnetic or similar magnetic effects; Processes or apparatus peculiar to the manufacture or treatment thereof or of parts thereof
    • H01L43/08Magnetic-field-controlled resistors

Abstract

Embodiments of the present invention provide a magnetic memory. In one embodiment, the magnetic memory comprises an insulator having a trench, a first conductor in the trench, a first magnetic layer in the trench and adjacent to the first conductor, and a second magnetic layer outside the trench.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Electronic systems use solid-state memory devices to store data, such as application programs, operating systems and real-time input and output information. The electronic systems, such as computers, computer system components and digital processing systems are built within space and budget constraints. The electronic systems often use more storage capacity as they become more complex. To meet the ever increasing demand for storage capacity and to stay within system space and budget constraints, memory device suppliers endeavor to increase memory cell density in the memory devices.
  • One type of solid-state memory device known in the art includes magnetic memory cells. These devices, known as magnetic random access memory (MRAM) devices are non-volatile, reprogrammable devices that include an array of magnetic memory cells. The magnetic memory cells may be of different types. For example, the memory cells can be magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) memory cells or giant magneto-resistive (GMR) memory cells.
  • Generally, a magnetic memory cell includes a layer of magnetic film in which the orientation of magnetization is alterable and a layer of magnetic film in which the orientation of magnetization may be fixed or “pinned” in a particular direction. The magnetic film having alterable magnetization is referred to as a sense layer or data storage layer, and the magnetic film that is fixed is referred to as a reference layer or pinned layer. In an MTJ memory cell, an insulating barrier layer separates the sense layer and the reference layer.
  • Conductive traces referred to as word lines and bit lines are routed across the array of memory cells. Word lines extend along rows of the memory cells, and bit lines extend along columns of the memory cells. A bit of information is stored in a memory cell as an orientation of magnetization in the sense layer at the intersection of a word line and a bit line. The orientation of magnetization in the sense layer aligns along an axis of the sense layer referred to as its easy axis. Magnetic fields are applied to flip the orientation of magnetization in the sense layer along its easy axis to either a parallel or anti-parallel orientation with respect to the orientation of magnetization in the reference layer.
  • The resistance through a memory cell differs according to the parallel or anti-parallel orientation of magnetization of the sense layer relative to the reference layer. The resistance is highest when the orientation is anti-parallel, which can be referred to as a logic “1” state, and lowest when the orientation is parallel, which can be referred to as a logic “0” state. The resistive state of the memory cell can be determined by sensing the resistance through the memory cell.
  • Magnetic memory cells are formed using pattern masks to fabricate the magnetic memory cell layers. Forming a high-density magnetic memory cell array can be very difficult in sub-micron magnetic memory devices. Alignment of the pattern masks is critical for achieving small memory cell sizes. The magnetic memory suppliers strive to improve fabrication and alignment techniques to form smaller magnetic memory cells and more densely packed magnetic memory cell arrays. In addition, magnetic memory suppliers make every effort to reduce fabrication complexity while forming smaller magnetic memory cells and less expensive magnetic memory cell arrays.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • Embodiments of the present invention provide a magnetic memory. In one embodiment, the magnetic memory comprises an insulator having a trench, a first conductor in the trench, a first magnetic layer in the trench and adjacent to the first conductor, and a second magnetic layer outside the trench.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • Embodiments of the invention are better understood with reference to the following drawings. The elements of the drawings are not necessarily to scale relative to each other. Like reference numerals designate corresponding similar parts.
  • FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating an exemplary embodiment of a magnetic memory, according to the present invention.
  • FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating an exemplary embodiment of an array section.
  • FIG. 3 is a diagram illustrating another embodiment of an array section.
  • FIG. 4 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of a trench mask positioned over a photoresist layer on a dielectric layer.
  • FIG. 5 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of unexposed portions of a photoresist layer on a dielectric layer.
  • FIG. 6 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of a dielectric layer including trenches.
  • FIG. 7 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of a dielectric layer including ferromagnetic cladding layers and conductors.
  • FIG. 8 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of a dielectric layer and bit lines.
  • FIG. 9 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of bit lines and a dielectric layer coated with a reference layer.
  • FIG. 10 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of reference layers next to bit lines in a dielectric layer.
  • FIG. 11 is a diagram illustrating a top-view of reference layers in a dielectric layer.
  • FIG. 12 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of reference layers and a dielectric layer coated with a barrier layer and a sense layer.
  • FIG. 13 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of a bit mask positioned over a photoresist layer on a sense layer.
  • FIG. 14 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of unexposed portions of a photoresist layer on a sense layer.
  • FIG. 15 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of sense layers on a barrier layer.
  • FIG. 16 is a diagram illustrating a top-view of sense layers on a barrier layer.
  • FIG. 17 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of a word line mask positioned over a photoresist layer and a conductive layer.
  • FIG. 18 is a diagram illustrating a top-view of a word line mask over a photoresist layer.
  • FIG. 19 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of a word line crossing sense layers.
  • FIG. 20 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of bit lines and a dielectric layer coated with a sense layer.
  • FIG. 21 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of sense layers next to bit lines in a dielectric layer.
  • FIG. 22 is a diagram illustrating a top-view of sense layers in a dielectric layer.
  • FIG. 23 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of sense layers and a dielectric layer coated with a barrier layer and a reference layer.
  • FIG. 24 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of a word line mask positioned over a photoresist layer that is next to a conductive layer.
  • FIG. 25 is a diagram illustrating a top-view of a word line mask over a photoresist layer.
  • FIG. 26 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of a word line, a reference layer and a barrier layer crossing sense layers.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating an exemplary embodiment of a magnetic memory 40, according to the present invention. The memory 40 includes a magnetic memory cell array 42 and a read/write circuit, indicated at 44. The memory cell array 42 is coupled to the read/write circuit 44 that includes a read circuit and a write circuit. The array 42 includes magnetic memory cells 46.
  • The magnetic memory cells 46 include a magnetic layer aligned with a conductor in a dielectric trench. The array 42 and memory cells 46 are formed using a damascene process. Trenches are formed in a dielectric layer and conductors are formed in the trenches. In addition, one of the magnetic layers of the memory cells 46 is formed in the trenches, next to the conductors. The trenches self-align at least one dimension of the magnetic layer with the trench conductors. In one embodiment, the trenches self-align reference layers along the length and width of the trench conductors. In another embodiment, the trenches self-align sense layers along the width of the trench conductors. Self-aligning one of the magnetic layers of the memory cells 46 with the trench conductors eliminates a pattern mask and the alignment tolerances or error associated with the pattern mask. Thus, smaller memory cells 46 can be produced. The smaller memory cells 46 can be more densely packed in array 42.
  • The memory cells 46 in array 42 are arranged in rows and columns, with the rows extending along an x-direction and the columns extending along a y-direction. Only a relatively small number of memory cells 46 are shown to simplify the illustration of magnetic memory 40. In practice, arrays of any suitable size can be used and the arrays can be stacked to form three-dimensional macro-array structures that operate in highly parallel modes.
  • In one suitable addressing scheme for a macro-array, memory cells are accessed by selecting one word line in each of a plurality of arrays and by selecting multiple bit lines in each of the plurality of arrays. Selecting multiple bit lines in each array, selects multiple memory cells from each array. The accessed memory cells within each of the plurality of arrays correspond to a small portion of a unit of data. Together the accessed memory cells provide a whole unit of data, such as a sector of 512 bytes or at least a substantial portion of a whole unit of data. The memory cells are accessed substantially simultaneously.
  • In the exemplary embodiment, the read/write circuit 44 includes read/write row circuit 48, and read/write column circuit 50. The row circuit 48 is electrically coupled to word lines 52 a-52 c, and the column circuit 50 is electrically coupled to bit lines 54 a-54 c. The conductive word lines 52 a-52 c extend along the x-direction in a plane on one side of array 42. The conductive bit lines 54 a-54 c extend along the y-direction in a plane on an opposing side of array 42. There is one word line 52 a-52 c for each row of the array 42, and one bit line 54 a-54 c for each column of the array 42. A memory cell 46 is located at each cross-point of a word line 52 a-52 c and a bit line 54 a-54 c.
  • During a write operation, the read/write circuit 44 selects one word line 52 a-52 c and one bit line 54 a-54 c to set or switch the orientation of magnetization in the sense layer of the memory cell 46 located at the cross-point of the selected word line 52 a-52 c and bit line 54 a-54 c. The row circuit 48 selects one word line 52 a-52 c, and the column circuit 50 selects one bit line 54 a-54 c. The row circuit 48 provides a word write current in either direction through the selected word line 52 a-52 c from/to another portion of the row circuit 48 not shown in the illustration. The column circuit 50 provides a bit write current in either direction through the selected bit line 54 a-54 c from/to another portion of the column circuit 50 not shown in the illustration. The word and bit write currents create magnetic fields, according to the right hand rule, around the selected word line 52 a-52 c and the selected bit line 54 a-54 c, and in the selected memory cell 46. These magnetic fields combine to set or switch the state of the selected memory cell 46.
  • During a read operation, the read/write circuit 44 selects one word line 52 a-52 c and one bit line 54 a-54 c to sense the resistance through the memory cell 46 located at the cross-point of the selected word line 52 a-52 c and the selected bit line 54 a-54 c. The row circuit 48 selects one word line 52 a-52 c, and the column circuit 50 selects one bit line 54 a-54 c. The read/write circuit 44 is configured to sense the resistance through a selected memory cell 46 and provide a logic level output corresponding to the resistive state of the selected memory cell 46. In the exemplary embodiment, the row circuit 48 provides a voltage on the selected word line 52 a-52 c and a sense current through the selected word line 52 a-52 c and memory cell 46 to the selected bit line 54 a-54 c. The column circuit 50 senses the magnitude of the sense current that indicates the resistive state of the selected memory cell 46. The read/write circuit 44 provides a logic level output signal to indicate the resistive state of the selected memory cell 46.
  • In the exemplary embodiment, the word lines 52 a-52 c and bit lines 54 a-54 c are used for reading and writing. In another embodiment, a third set of conductors can be added to read and write using different sets of conductors. For example, a write operation can be performed using word lines 52 a-52 c and bit lines 54 a-54 c, and a read operation can be performed using the third set of conductors and bit lines 54 a-54 c. The word lines 52 a-52 c are insulated from the memory cells.
  • FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating an exemplary embodiment of an array section, indicated at 60. Array section 60 includes word lines 52 a and 52 b, sense layers 62 a and 62 b, barrier layer 64, reference layer 66 and bit line 54 a. The bit line 54 a includes a ferromagnetic cladding layer 68 and a conductor 70. In the exemplary embodiment, word lines 52 a and 52 b are orthogonal to bit line 54 a. In other embodiments, word lines 52 a and 52 b can lie in other suitable angular relationships with bit line 54 a. In addition, in other embodiments, bit line 54 a can be built without ferromagnetic cladding layer 68.
  • The bit line 54 a and reference layer 66 are disposed in a dielectric layer 72. The bit line 54 a and reference layer 66 are formed in a damascene trench, indicated at 74, in dielectric layer 72. The trench 74 includes three side surfaces 74 a-74 c, and extends the length of dielectric layer 72. The trench 74 is lined on one side surface 74 a and partially lined on two side surfaces 74 b and 74 c with ferromagnetic cladding layer 68. The ferromagnetic cladding layer 68 includes magnetic material with a higher permeability than conductor 70. The conductor 70 is a conductor, such as copper, disposed inside cladding layer 68. The reference layer 66 is disposed on cladding layer 68 and conductor 70. The reference layer 66 and bit line 54 a extend the length of dielectric layer 72 in trench 74 and cross sense layers 62 a and 62 b. The reference layer 66 has a pinned orientation of magnetization.
  • The barrier layer 64 is a planar blanket layer disposed on dielectric layer 72 and reference layer 66, outside the trench 74. The barrier layer 64 is located between reference layer 66 and sense layers 62 a and 62 b. In the exemplary embodiment, barrier layer 64 is an insulator through which an electrical charge tunnels during read operations. Electrical charge tunneling occurs in response to a voltage across a selected word line 52 a and 52 b and the bit line 54 a.
  • The sense layers 62 a and 62 b are formed on the planar barrier layer 64. The sense layers 62 a and 62 b are aligned with reference layer 66 along the length of trench 74 and insulated from reference layer 66 by barrier layer 64. The sense layers 62 a and 62 b have an alterable orientation of magnetization. A memory cell 46 comprises reference layer 66, barrier layer 64 and one of the sense layers 62 a and 62 b.
  • The word lines 52 a and 52 b are conductors formed on barrier layer 64 and sense layers 62 a and 62 b. The word lines 52 a and 52 b are patterned to be narrower than sense layers 62 a and 62 b along the length dimension into the page and parallel to trench 74. The word lines 52 a and 52 b are insulated from reference layer 66 by barrier layer 64 and dielectric layer 72. The word lines 52 a and 52 b and bit line 54 a are electrically coupled to read/write circuit 44.
  • During a write operation, read/write circuit 44 selects bit line 54 a and one of the word lines 52 a and 52 b to write the memory cell 46 located at the cross-point of the bit line 54 a and the selected word line 52 a and 52 b. Read/write circuit 44 provides word and bit write currents through the selected word line 52 a and 52 b, and bit line 54 a. The write currents create magnetic fields around the selected word line 52 a and 52 b and bit line 54 a, according to the right hand rule. The ferromagnetic cladding layer 68 localizes the magnetic field around bit line 54 a to magnify the magnetic field in the selected sense layer 62 a and 62 b. The magnetic fields combine to set or switch the orientation of magnetization in the selected sense layer 62 a and 62 b.
  • During a read operation, read/write circuit 44 selects bit line 54 a and one of the word lines 52 a and 52 b to sense the resistance through the memory cell 46 located at the cross-point of the bit line 54 a and the selected word line 52 a and 52 b. The column circuit 50 selects bit line 54 a, and the row circuit 48 selects one of the word lines 52 a and 52 b. The row circuit 48 provides a voltage on the selected word line 52 a and 52 b and a sense current through the selected word line 52 a and 52 b, the selected sense layer 62 a and 62 b, barrier layer 64 and reference layer 66 to bit line 54 a. The column circuit 50 senses the magnitude of the sense current that indicates the resistive state of the selected memory cell 46. The read/write circuit 44 provides a logic level output signal to indicate the resistive state of the selected memory cell 46.
  • FIG. 3 is a diagram illustrating another embodiment of an array section, indicated at 80. Array section 80 includes word lines 52 a and 52 b, reference layers 82 a and 82 b, barrier layers 84 a and 84 b, sense layers 86 a and 86 b, and bit line 54 a. The bit line 54 a includes ferromagnetic cladding layer 68 and conductor 70. The word lines 52 a and 52 b are orthogonal to bit line 54 a. In other embodiments, the word lines 52 a and 52 b can lie in other suitable angular relationships with bit line 54 a.
  • The bit line 54 a and sense layers 86 a and 86 b are formed in dielectric layer 72. The bit line 54 a and sense layers 86 a and 86 b are formed in damascene trench 74 in dielectric layer 72. The damascene trench 74 includes three side surfaces 74 a-74 c and extends the length of dielectric layer 72. The trench 74 is lined on one side surface 74 a and partially lined on two side surfaces 74 b and 74 c with cladding layer 68. The cladding layer 68 includes magnetic material with a higher permeability than conductor 70. The conductor 70 is a conductor, such as copper, that is disposed in cladding layer 68. The sense layers 86 a and 86 b are disposed in the damascene trench 74 and patterned into oblong or rectangular patterns under word lines 52 a and 52 b. The widths of sense layers 86 a and 86 b are defined by the two opposing side surfaces 74 b and 74 c of trench 74. The sense layers 86 a and 86 b have an alterable orientation of magnetization.
  • The barrier layers 84 a and 84 b are disposed in a plane on dielectric layer 72 and sense layers 86 a and 86 b, outside the trench 74. The barrier layers 84 a and 84 b are located between sense layers 86 a and 86 b and reference layers 82 a and 82 b. The barrier layer 84 a is located between sense layer 86 a and reference layer 82 a, and barrier layer 84 b is located between sense layer 86 b and reference layer 82 b. The barrier layers 84 a and 84 b are insulators through which an electrical charge tunnels during a read operation. Electrical charge tunneling occurs in response to a voltage across a selected word line 52 a and 52 b, and bit line 54 a.
  • The reference layers 82 a and 82 b are disposed in a plane on barrier layers 84 a and 84 b. The reference layers 82 a and 82 b are aligned to cross sense layers 86 a and 86 b and are insulated from sense layers 86 a and 86 b by barrier layers 84 a and 84 b. One memory cell 46 comprises sense layer 86 a, barrier layer 84 a and reference layer 82 a in a memory cell stack, indicated at 88 a. A second memory cell 46 comprises sense layer 86 b, barrier layer 84 b and reference layer 82 b in a second memory cell stack 88 b. The memory cell stack 88 a is located between word line 52 a and bit line 54 a, and the memory cell stack 88 b is located between word line 52 b and bit line 54 a. Each of the reference layers 82 a and 82 b cross multiple memory cells 46.
  • The word lines 52 a and 52 b are conductors disposed in a plane on the reference layers 82 a and 82 b. Word line 52 a is located next to reference layer 82 a, and word line 52 b is located next to reference layer 82 b. The word line 52 a, reference layer 82 a and barrier layer 84 a are similarly patterned to cross sense layer 86 a. The word line 52 b, reference layer 82 b and barrier layer 84 b are similarly patterned to cross sense layer 86 b. The word lines 52 a and 52 b and the bit line 54 a are electrically coupled to read/write circuit 44.
  • During a write operation, read/write circuit 44 selects bit line 54 a and one of the word lines 52 a and 52 b to write the memory cell 46 located at the cross-point of bit line 54 a and the selected word line 52 a and 52 b. Read/write circuit 44 provides word and bit write currents through the selected word line 52 a and 52 b and bit line 54 a. The write currents create magnetic fields around the selected word line 52 a and 52 b and bit line 54 a, according to the right hand rule. The cladding layer 68 localizes the magnetic field around bit line 54 a to magnify the magnetic field in the selected sense layer 86 a and 86 b. The cladding layer 68 also provides flux closure for the selected sense layer 86 a and 86 b. The magnetic fields combine to set or switch the orientation of magnetization in the selected sense layer 86 a and 86 b.
  • During a read operation, read/write circuit 44 selects one word line 52 a and 52 b and bit line 54 a to sense the resistance through the memory cell 46 located at the cross-point of the selected word line 52 a and 52 b and the selected bit line 54 a. The row circuit 48 selects one word line 52 a and 52 b, and the column circuit 50 selects bit line 54 a. The row circuit 48 provides a voltage on the selected word line 52 a and 52 b and a sense current through the selected word line 52 a and 52 b and the selected memory cell stack 88 a and 88 b to the bit line 54 a. The column circuit 50 senses the magnitude of the sense current that indicates the resistive state of the selected memory cell 46, i.e. the selected memory cell stack 88 a and 88 b. The read/write circuit 44 provides a logic level output signal to indicate the resistive state of the selected memory cell 46.
  • FIGS. 4-19 are diagrams illustrating an exemplary process for constructing the exemplary embodiment of array section 60 and magnetic memory 40. In the exemplary process, memory cells 46 are constructed in and on dielectric layer 72. The dielectric layer 72 can be formed on a substrate containing integrated circuitry, such as complimentary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) circuitry. The CMOS circuitry can include digital and analog circuits for magnetic memory 40, including read/write circuit 44.
  • FIG. 4 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of a trench mask 100 positioned over a photoresist layer 102 on dielectric layer 72. The photoresist layer 102 is formed on dielectric layer 72 and trench mask 100 is positioned over photoresist layer 102. In practice, trench mask 100 is spaced from photoresist layer 102.
  • The trench mask 100 includes clear portions 100 a-100 c and opaque portions 100 d-100 g. Light is focused through clear portions 100 a-100 c and onto photoresist layer 102 to form patterns in photoresist layer 102. The photoresist layer 102 includes exposed portions 102 a-102 c and unexposed portions 102 d-102 g.
  • In the exemplary embodiment, trench mask 100 includes clear portions 100 a-100 c and opaque portions 100 d-100 g to form parallel lines in photoresist layer 102. The photoresist layer 102 is exposed to high intensity ultra-violet (UV) light through clear portions 100 a-100 c to form exposed portions 102 a-102 c. The exposed portions 102 a-102 c define where trenches will be in dielectric layer 72. The exposed portions 102 a-102 c are removed to leave unexposed portions 102 d-102 g on dielectric layer 72.
  • In another process for constructing embodiments of the present invention, the negative of trench mask 100 can be used with a different photoresist material as the photoresist layer on dielectric 72. Exposed portions of the different photoresist material are cured and remain on dielectric layer 72. Unexposed portions of the different photoresist material are washed away to leave a photoresist pattern on dielectric layer 72 similar to the parallel line pattern of the exemplary embodiment.
  • FIG. 5 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of unexposed portions 102 d-102 g of photoresist layer 102 on dielectric layer 72. The exposed portions 102 a-102 c have been removed in a wash. The unexposed portions 102 d-102 g outline openings 104 a-104 c in photoresist layer 102. The openings 104 a-104 c and unexposed portions 102 d-102 g form a pattern on dielectric layer 72 that corresponds to the clear portion 100 a-100 c and opaque portion 100 d-100 g pattern of trench mask 100. In the exemplary embodiment, the pattern includes straight, parallel lines that correspond to bit lines 54 a-54 c of magnetic memory 40. The dielectric layer 72 is etched through openings 104 a-104 c in photoresist layer 102 to form trenches 74 in dielectric layer 72.
  • FIG. 6 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of dielectric layer 72 including trenches 74, 76 and 78. The trenches 74, 76 and 78 have side surfaces 74 a-c, 76 a-c and 78 a-c. The trenches 74, 76 and 78 are etched out of dielectric layer 72 in a reactive ion etch (RIE). The RIE removes the dielectric layer 72 through openings 104 a-104 c. The unexposed portions 102 d-102 g of photoresist layer 102 define the dimensions of trenches 74, 76 and 78. The unexposed portions 102 d-102 g are removed to leave dielectric layer 72 and trenches 74, 76 and 78. The trenches 74, 76 and 78 are patterned similar to the clear portions 100 a-100 c of trench mask 100.
  • FIG. 7 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of dielectric layer 72 including ferromagnetic cladding layers 68 and conductors 70. The cladding layers 68 are thin layers of magnetic material that line the trenches 74, 76 and 78 in dielectric layer 72. The conductors 70 fill the cladding layers 68 in trenches 74, 76 and 78. The conductors 70 are conductive material, such as copper. The cladding layers 68 include magnetic material with a higher permeability than the conductors 70.
  • The cladding layers 68 are formed as a single, blanket ferromagnetic cladding layer 68 over dielectric layer 72. The blanket cladding layer 68 is deposited on dielectric layer 72 to form a thin layer that covers top portions 110 and lines the trenches 74, 76 and 78 of dielectric layer 72. Processes such as sputtering, evaporation, ion beam deposition, chemical vapor deposition or atomic layer deposition can be used to deposit the cladding layers 68.
  • The conductors 70 are formed as a single, blanket conductor 70 over the blanket cladding layer 68. The blanket conductor 70 covers the blanket cladding layer 68 over the top portions 110. In addition, the blanket conductor 70 fills the blanket cladding layer 68 that lines the trenches 74, 76 and 78 in dielectric layer 72. Processes such as sputtering, evaporation, electrochemical plating, ion beam deposition, chemical vapor deposition or atomic layer deposition can be used to deposit the conductors 70.
  • The excess material including the blanket conductor 70 and blanket cladding layer 68 is removed from the top portions 110 of dielectric layer 72. Removing the excess material defines the dimensions of the cladding layers 68 and conductors 70 inside trenches 74, 76 and 78. The excess material is removed in a chemical mechanical polish (CMP). In another process, the excess material is removed in a RIE, dry etching process. In either situation, the top portions 110, cladding layers 68 and conductors 70 are substantially flat and uniform across the entire surface.
  • FIG. 8 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of dielectric layer 72 and bit lines 54 a-54 c. The bit lines 54 a-54 c include cladding layers 68 and conductors 70. Recesses 106 a-106 c are formed in trenches 74, 76 and 78 to a depth d. The bit lines 54 a-54 c extend along the length of dielectric layer 72 in trenches 74, 76 and 78. The length and width W dimensions of bit lines 54 a-54 c are defined by trenches 74, 76 and 78.
  • The cladding layers 68 line the three side surfaces 74 a-c, 76 a-c and 78 a-c of trenches 74, 76 and 78. In bit line 54 a, cladding layer 68 lines side surface 74 a and partially lines side surfaces 74 b and 74 c. In bit line 54 b, cladding layer 68 lines side surface 76 a and partially lines side surfaces 76 b and 76 c. In bit line 54 c, cladding layer 68 lines side surface 78 a and partially lines side surfaces 78 b and 78 c. The conductors 70 are disposed in cladding layers 68 to form cross-sections that are substantially rectangular.
  • The bit lines 54 a-54 c are formed by removing portions of cladding layers 68 and conductors 70 from within trenches 74, 76 and 78. Removing portions of the cladding layers 68 and conductors 70 creates recesses 106 a-106 c in dielectric layer 72 next to the remaining cladding layers 68 and conductors 70, i.e. above bit lines 54 a-54 c. Material from cladding layers 68 and conductors 70 are removed in a semiconductor processing step, such as an aggressive CMP, an ion etch or a wet chemical etch.
  • FIG. 9 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of bit lines 54 a-54 c and dielectric layer 72 coated with reference layer 66. The bit lines 54 a-54 c include cladding layers 68 and conductors 70. The reference layer 66 is applied as a blanket reference layer 66 over dielectric layer 72 and in recesses 106 a-106 c over bit lines 54 a-54 c. The reference layer 66 has a pinned orientation of magnetization.
  • FIG. 10 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of reference layers 66 a-66 c next to bit lines 54 a-54 c in dielectric layer 72. The bit lines 54 a-54 c include cladding layers 68 and conductors 70. The reference layers 66 a-66 c are formed in recesses 106 a-106 c and extend along the length of dielectric layer 72 in trenches 74, 76 and 78. The reference layers 66 a-66 c have pinned orientations of magnetization.
  • To form reference layers 66 a-66 c, excess material from the blanket reference layer 66 is removed from dielectric layer 72. The excess material is removed in a CMP to planarize the surface of dielectric layer 72 and the remaining reference layers 66 a-66 c. The top surface, including the top portions 110 and reference layers 66 a-66 c, is substantially flat and uniform across the entire surface. Removing the excess reference layer material, defines the reference layers 66 a-66 c in trenches 74, 76 and 78 of dielectric layer 72. The width dimensions W of the reference layers 66 a-66 c are defined by the sidewalls 74 b and 74 c, 76 b and 76 c, and 78 b and 78 c of trenches 74, 76 and 78. In other processes, the surface of dielectric layer 72 and the remaining reference layers 66 a-66 c can be planarized in other suitable steps, such as by RIE or ion milling processes.
  • FIG. 11 is a diagram illustrating a top-view of reference layers 66 a-66 c in dielectric layer 72. The reference layers 66 a-66 c extend along trenches 74, 76 and 78 and between top portions 110 of dielectric layer 72. The width dimensions W of reference layers 66 a-66 c are defined by sidewalls 74 b and 74 c, 76 b and 76 c and 78 b and 78 c of trenches 74, 76 and 78.
  • In another embodiment, a sacrificial layer is formed as a blanket layer over reference layer 66 to facilitate the CMP process. Reference layer 66 and the sacrificial layer are processed together, such that after the planarization step illustrated in FIG. 10, reference layers 66 a, 66 b and 66 c have an additional layer of sacrificial material over them. The sacrificial layer prevents inadvertent removal of reference layer material from trenches 74, 76 and 78 during the CMP process. In order for the sacrificial layer to be effective, the thickness of reference layer 66 is less than the depth d of recesses 106 a, 106 b and 106 c. The sacrificial layer is removed prior to deposition of a barrier layer 64. The sacrificial layer is removed by a process such as a RIE, ion etching, sputter etching or wet chemical etching. Additional cleaning of exposed reference layers 66 a-66 c may be done immediately prior to barrier layer deposition. If a sacrificial layer is used, the top surfaces of reference layers 66 a-66 c are not precisely planar with the surface of dielectric layer 72.
  • FIG. 12 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of reference layers 66 a-66 c and dielectric layer 72 coated with barrier layer 64 and sense layer 62. Bit lines 54 a-54 c in dielectric layer 72 include cladding layers 68 and conductors 70. The barrier layer 64 is an insulating barrier layer through which electrical charge tunnels during a read operation. The sense layer 62 has an orientation of magnetization that is alterable.
  • The barrier layer 64 is deposited on the planar top surface of dielectric layer 72 and reference layer 66 a-66 c as a blanket barrier layer 64 deposited in a plane. The sense layer 62 is deposited on the planar barrier layer 64 as a blanket sense layer 62 deposited in a plane. Cleaning processes, such as ion etching or sputter etching may be employed prior to coating barrier layer 64.
  • FIG. 13 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of a bit mask 112 positioned over a photoresist layer 114 on sense layer 62. The sense layer 62 is situated on barrier layer 64 that is located on the planar surface of dielectric layer 72 and reference layers 66 a-66 c. Bit lines 54 a-54 c include cladding layers 68 and conductors 70.
  • The photoresist layer 114 is formed in a deposit on sense layer 62. Bit mask 112 is positioned over photoresist layer 114. In practice, bit mask 112 is spaced from photoresist layer 114. The bit mask 112 includes opaque portions 112 a-112 c and clear portions 112 d-112 g. Light is focused through the clear portions 112 d-112 g of bit mask 112 and onto photoresist layer 114 to form patterns in photoresist layer 114. The photoresist layer 114 includes unexposed portions 114 a-114 c and exposed portions 114 d-114 g.
  • In the exemplary embodiment, bit mask 112 includes opaque portions 112 a-112 c and clear portions 112 d-112 g to form rectangular (or oblong) bits in photoresist layer 114 and eventually sense layer 62. The bit mask 112 is aligned to locate the opaque portions 112 a-112 c over reference layers 66 a-66 c. The photoresist layer 114 is exposed to high intensity ultra-violet (UV) light through clear portions 112 d-112 g to form exposed portions 114 d-114 g in photoresist layer 114. The exposed portions 114 d-114 g are removed to leave the unexposed portions 114 a-114 c on sense layer 62.
  • In another process, the negative of bit mask 112 can be used with a different photoresist material as the photoresist layer on sense layer 62. Exposed portions of the different photoresist material are cured and remain on sense layer 62. Unexposed portions of the different photoresist material are washed away to leave a photoresist pattern on sense layer 62 similar to the sense bit pattern of the exemplary embodiment.
  • FIG. 14 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of unexposed portions 114 a-114 c of photoresist layer 114 on sense layer 62. The sense layer 62 is located on barrier layer 64 that is on the planar surface of dielectric layer 72 and reference layers 66 a-66 c. The bit lines 54 a-54 c include cladding layers 68 and conductors 70.
  • The unexposed portions 114 a-114 c will define the dimensions of the sense layer bits in sense layer 62. The exposed portions 114 d-114 g are washed away to leave the unexposed portions 114 a-114 c on sense layer 62. The unexposed portions 114 a-114 c are rectangular in shape to form rectangular sense layer bits on barrier layer 64. The unexposed portions 114 a-114 c are aligned with the width W of bit lines 54 a-54 c and reference layers 66 a-66 c.
  • FIG. 15 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of sense layers 62 a, 62 d and 62 g on barrier layer 64. The barrier layer 64 is located on the planar surface of dielectric layer 72 and reference layers 66 a-66 c. Bit lines 54 a-54 c include cladding layers 68 and conductors 70.
  • The sense layer 62 a, 62 d and 62 g are formed on barrier layer 64 by removing sense layer material from the blanket sense layer 62. The sense layer material is removed from between the unexposed portions 114 a-114 c. The sense layer material is removed in a process, such as an ion etch, RIE or a wet chemical etch. The unexposed portions 114 a-114 c are removed to leave sense layers 62 a, 62 d and 62 g.
  • The sense layers 62 a, 62 d and 62 g are aligned with the width dimension W of bit lines 54 a-54 c and reference layers 66 a-66 c. The sense layers 62 a, 62 d and 62 g are rectangular sense layer bits that are each part of a memory cell 46. A memory cell 46 comprises one sense layer bit, barrier layer 64 and the corresponding reference layer line. For example, a memory cell 46 comprises sense layer 62 a, barrier layer 64 and reference layer 66 a.
  • FIG. 16 is a diagram illustrating a top-view of sense layers 62 a-62 i on barrier layer 64. The sense layers 62 a-62 i are arranged in rows and columns, with the rows extending along an x-direction and the columns extending along a y-direction. The columns of sense layers 62 a-62 i are formed to align with the width dimension W of bit lines 54 a-54 c and reference layers 66 a-66 c. Each sense layer 62 a-62 i is part of a memory cell 46 in array 42.
  • FIG. 17 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of a word line mask 120 positioned over a photoresist layer 122 and a conductive layer 52. The conductive layer 52 is formed on barrier layer 64 and sense layers 62 a-62 i. The photoresist layer 122 is formed on the conductive layer 52 and is located between the conductive layer 52 and word line mask 120. In practice, the word line mask 120 is spaced from photoresist layer 122. The word line mask 120 includes a pattern for etching conductive layer 52.
  • The sense layers 62 a, 62 d and 62 g are located between the conductive layer 52 and barrier layer 64. The barrier layer 64 is located on the planar surface of dielectric layer 72 and reference layers 66 a-66 c. The bit lines 54 a-54 c are next to reference layers 66 a-66 c in dielectric layer 72 and include cladding layers 68 and conductors 70.
  • The conductive layer 52 is formed as a blanket conductive layer 52 over the barrier layer 64 and sense layers 62 a-62 i. The blanket conductive layer 52 is etched to form word lines 52 a-52 c across array 42. The word lines 52 a-52 c cross bit lines 54 a-54 c at memory cells 46, including sense layers 62 a-62 i. The word lines 52 a-52 c are orthogonal to bit lines 54 a-54 c.
  • The photoresist layer 122 is formed on conductive layer 52 as a blanket photoresist layer 122. The photoresist layer 122 is patterned using the word line mask 120 to form word lines 52 a-52 c in conductive layer 52.
  • FIG. 18 is a diagram illustrating a top-view of word line mask 120 over photoresist layer 122. The word line mask 120 includes opaque portions 120 a-120 c and clear portions 120 d-120 g. The opaque portions 120 a-120 c extend along the x-direction and are aligned over sense layers, indicated at 62 a-62 i. The opaque portions 120 a-120 c are orthogonal to bit lines, indicated at 54 a-54 c, having width dimensions W. The opaque portions 120 a-120 c are narrower at length l as compared to length L of sense layers 62 a-62 i. Word lines 52 a-52 c formed from word line mask 120 and opaque portions 120 a-120 c are narrower than sense layers 62 a-62 i. The narrower word lines 52 a-52 c do not overlap sense layer 62 a-62 i at length L to lie on barrier layer 64 above reference layers 66 a-66 c.
  • The photoresist layer 122 is exposed to high intensity UV light through the clear portions 120 d-120 g of word line mask 120. The exposed portions of the photoresist layer 122 are washed away to leave the unexposed portions of the photoresist layer 122, under the opaque portions 120 a-120 c of word line mask 120. The conductive layer 52 is removed from between the unexposed portions of the photoresist layer 122 to define word lines 52 a-52 c under the unexposed layer of photoresist layer 122.
  • In another process, the negative of word line mask 120 can be used with a different photoresist material as the photoresist layer on conductive layer 52. Exposed portions of the different photoresist material are cured and remain on conductive layer 52. Unexposed portions of the different photoresist material are washed away to leave a photoresist pattern on conductive layer 52 similar to the word line pattern of the exemplary embodiment.
  • In another embodiment, sense layer 62 is patterned into lines along the lengths of trenches 74, 76 and 78 and over reference layers 66 a-66 c. The word line mask 120 is used to pattern the sense layer lines into memory cell sense layers and the second conductor into word lines that are not narrower than the memory cell sense layers.
  • FIG. 19 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of word line 52 a crossing sense layers 62 a, 62 d and 62 g. The sense layers 62 a, 62 d and 62 g are located on barrier layer 64 that is on the planar surface of dielectric layer 72 and reference layers 66 a-66 c. The bit lines 54 a-54 c are located next to reference layers 66 a-66 c in dielectric layer 72 and include cladding layers 68 and conductors 70. The word line 52 a is located on barrier layer 64 and across sense layer 62 a, 62 d and 62 g. The word line 52 a is not on barrier layer 64 directly over reference layers 66 a-66 c. FIG. 2 is another diagram illustrating the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 19.
  • FIGS. 4-8 and 20-26 are diagrams illustrating a process for constructing the embodiment of array section 80, illustrated in FIG. 3. The process begins similar to the previously described process and proceeds, as illustrated in FIGS. 4-8, to construct recesses 106 a-106 c over bit lines 54 a-54 c in dielectric layer 72. The recesses 106 a-106 c are formed in trenches 74, 76 and 78 of dielectric layer 72.
  • FIG. 20 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of bit lines 54 a-54 c and dielectric layer 72 coated with a sense layer 123. The bit lines 54 a-54 c include cladding layers 68 and conductors 70. The sense layer 123 is formed as a blanket sense layer 123 over dielectric layer 72 and in recesses 106 a-106 c over bit lines 54 a-54 c. The sense layer 123 has an alterable orientation of magnetization.
  • FIG. 21 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of sense layers 86, 124 and 126 next to bit lines 54 a-54 c in dielectric layer 72. The bit lines 54 a-54 c include cladding layers 68 and conductors 70. The sense layers 86, 124 and 126 are formed in recesses 106 a-106 c and extend along the length of dielectric layer 72 in trenches 74, 76 and 78. The sense layers 86, 124 and 126 have alterable orientations of magnetization.
  • To form sense layers 86, 124 and 126, the excess material from blanket sense layer 123 is removed from top portions 110 of dielectric layer 72. The excess material is removed in a CMP to planarize the surface of dielectric layer 72 and the remaining sense layers 86, 124 and 126. The top surface, including top portions 110 and sense layers 86, 124 and 126, is substantially flat and uniform across the entire surface. Removing the excess sense layer material, defines the sense layers 86, 124 and 126 in trenches 74, 76 and 78 of dielectric layer 72. The width dimensions W of sense layers 86, 124 and 126 are defined by trenches 74, 76 and 78.
  • FIG. 22 is a diagram illustrating a top-view of sense layers 86, 124 and 126 in dielectric layer 72. The sense layers 86, 124 and 126 extend along trenches 74, 76 and 78 in dielectric layer 72 and between top portions 110 of dielectric layer 72. The width dimensions W of sense layers 86, 124 and 126 are defined by trenches 74, 76 and 78.
  • In another embodiment, a sacrificial layer is formed as a blanket layer over sense layer 123 to facilitate the CMP process. Sense layer 123 and the sacrificial layer are processed together, such that after the planarization step illustrated in FIG. 21, sense layers 86, 124 and 126 have an additional layer of sacrificial material over them. The sacrificial layer prevents inadvertent removal of sense layer material from trenches 74, 76 and 78 during the CMP process. In order for the sacrificial layer to be effective, the thickness of sense layer 123 is less than the depth d of recesses 106 a, 106 b and 106 c. The sacrificial layer is removed prior to deposition of a barrier layer 84. The sacrificial layer is removed by a process such as a RIE, ion etching, sputter etching or wet chemical etching. Additional cleaning of exposed sense layers 86, 124 and 126 may be done immediately prior to barrier layer deposition. If a sacrificial layer is used, the top surfaces of sense layers 86, 124 and 126 are not precisely planar with the surface of dielectric layer 72.
  • FIG. 23 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of sense layers 86, 124 and 126 and dielectric layer 72 coated with barrier layer 84 and reference layer 82. Bit lines 54 a-54 c in dielectric layer 72 include cladding layers 68 and conductors 70. The barrier layer 84 is an insulating barrier layer through which electrical charge tunnels during a read operation. The reference layer 82 has a pinned orientation of magnetization.
  • The barrier layer 84 is deposited on the planar top surface of dielectric layer 72 and sense layers 86, 124 and 126. The barrier layer 84 is a blanket barrier layer 84 deposited in a plane. The reference layer 82 is deposited on the planar barrier layer 84. The reference layer 82 is a blanket reference layer 82 deposited in a plane.
  • FIG. 24 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of a word line mask 130 positioned over a photoresist layer 132 that is next to conductive layer 52. The conductive layer 52 is formed on reference layer 82, and photoresist layer 132 is formed on conductive layer 52. The photoresist layer 132 is located between conductive layer 52 and word line mask 130. In practice, word line mask 130 is spaced from photoresist layer 132. The word line mask 130 includes a pattern for etching the conductive layer 52 to form word lines 52 a-52 c.
  • The reference layer 82 is located between conductive layer 52 and barrier layer 84. The barrier layer 84 is located on the planar surface of dielectric layer 72 and sense layers 86, 124 and 126. Bit lines 54 a-54 c are next to sense layers 86, 124 and 126 in dielectric layer 72 and include cladding layers 68 and conductors 70.
  • The conductive layer 52 is formed as a blanket conductive layer 52 over reference layer 82. The blanket conductive layer 52, blanket reference layer 82, blanket barrier layer 84 and sense layer lines 86, 124 and 126 are etched in a single etching process using word line mask 130. The blanket conductive layer 52 is etched to form word lines 52 a-52 c across array 42. The blanket reference layer 82 is etched to form reference layers and the blanket barrier layer 84 is etched to form barrier layers that correspond to word lines 52 a-52 c. The sense layer lines 86, 124 and 126 are etched to form sense layer bits. The word lines 52 a-52 c and the corresponding reference layers and barrier layers cross bit lines 54 a-54 c at memory cells 46, including sense layer bits such as sense layers 86 a and 86 b illustrated in FIG. 3.
  • As illustrated in FIG. 3, word line 52 a is next to reference layer 82 a that is next to barrier layer 84 a. The word line 52 a, reference layer 82 a and barrier layer 84 a cross sense layer 86 a and bit line 54 a. The reference layer 82 a, barrier layer 84 a and sense layer 86 a make up a memory cell 46. The word line 52 b, reference layer 82 b and barrier layer 84 b cross sense layer 86 b and bit line 54 a. The reference layer 82 b, barrier layer 84 b and sense layer 86 b make up a second memory cell 46. The sense layer material from sense layer line 86 previously located on each side of word lines 52 a and 52 b is removed during the etching process to form sense layers 86 a and 86 b.
  • The photoresist layer 132 is formed on conductive layer 52 as a blanket photoresist layer 132. The photoresist layer 132 is patterned using word line mask 130 to form word lines 52 a-52 c in conductive layer 52 and to pattern the reference layer 82, barrier layer 84 and sense layer lines 86, 124, and 126.
  • FIG. 25 is a diagram illustrating a top-view of word line mask 130 over photoresist layer 132. The word line mask 130 includes opaque portions 130 a-130 c and clear portions 130 d-130 g. The opaque portions 130 a-130 c extend along the x-direction and are aligned orthogonal to bit lines, indicated at 54 a-54 c. The bit lines 54 a-54 c have width dimensions W.
  • The photoresist layer 132 is exposed to high intensity UV light through the clear portions 130 d-130 g of word line mask 130. The exposed portions of the photoresist layer 132 are washed away to leave the unexposed portions of the photoresist layer 132. The unexposed portions of the photoresist layer 132 are the portions situated under the opaque portions 130 a-130 c of word line mask 130. The conductive layer 52, reference layer 82, barrier layer 84 and sense layer lines 86, 124 and 126 are removed from between the unexposed portions of photoresist layer 132 to define word lines 52 a-52 c and sense layer bits, such as sense layers 86 a and 86 b illustrated in FIG. 3.
  • In another process, the negative of word line mask 130 can be used with a different photoresist material as the photoresist layer on conductive layer 52. Exposed portions of the different photoresist material are cured and remain on conductive layer 52. Unexposed portions of the different photoresist material are washed away to leave a photoresist pattern on conductive layer 52 similar to the word line pattern.
  • FIG. 26 is a diagram illustrating a cross-section of word line 52 a, reference layer 82 a and barrier layer 84 a crossing sense layers 86 a, 124 a and 126 a. The reference layer 82 a is located between word line 52 a and barrier layer 84 a. The barrier layer 84 a is located between reference layer 82 a and the planar top surface of dielectric layer 72 and sense layers 86 a, 124 a and 126 a. The sense layers 86 a, 124 a and 126 a are located in trenches 74, 76 and 78 of dielectric layer 72 and next to bit lines 54 a-54 c. The sense layer 86 a is located between the barrier layer 84 a and bit line 54 a. The sense layer 124 a is located between the barrier layer 84 a and bit line 54 b, and the sense layer 126 a is located between the barrier layer 84 a and bit line 54 c. The bits lines 54 a-54 c include cladding layers 68 and conductors 70. FIG. 3 is another diagram illustrating the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 26.

Claims (34)

1. A magnetic memory comprising:
an insulator having a trench;
a first conductor in the trench;
a first magnetic layer in the trench and adjacent to the first conductor; and
a second magnetic layer outside the trench.
2. The magnetic memory of claim 1, comprising a barrier layer outside the trench and disposed between the first magnetic layer and the second magnetic layer.
3. The magnetic memory of claim 1, comprising a barrier layer that prevents shorts between the first magnetic layer and the second magnetic layer.
4. The magnetic memory of claim 1, where the first magnetic layer is self-aligned with the first conductor along at least one dimension of the trench.
5. The magnetic memory of claim 1, where the first magnetic layer comprises a reference layer.
6. The magnetic memory of claim 1, where the second magnetic layer is patterned into bits aligned with the first magnetic layer.
7. The magnetic memory of claim 1, comprising a second conductor disposed over the second magnetic layer, where the second conductor is narrower than the second magnetic layer.
8. The magnetic memory of claim 1, comprising a second conductor disposed over the second magnetic layer, where the second conductor is patterned into lines and the first magnetic layer is patterned into bits with a line mask pattern.
9. The magnetic memory of claim 1, comprising a second conductor disposed over the second magnetic layer and a barrier layer disposed between the first magnetic layer and the second magnetic layer, where the second conductor and the second magnetic layer are patterned the same.
10. The magnetic memory of claim 1, where the first magnetic layer comprises a sense layer.
11. The magnetic memory of claim 1, where the first conductor comprises:
a ferromagnetic cladding layer lining the trench; and
copper.
12. A magnetic memory comprising:
an array of memory cells;
first conductive lines;
second conductive lines crossing the first conductive lines at memory cells in the array of memory cells, where a memory cell in the array of memory cells comprises:
a first magnetic layer inside an insulating recess;
a second magnetic layer outside the insulating recess; and
a barrier layer between the first magnetic layer and the second magnetic layer.
13. The magnetic memory of claim 12, where the barrier layer is in a plane over the insulating recess.
14. The magnetic memory of claim 12, where the first conductive lines are in parallel insulating trenches formed in an insulator.
15. The magnetic memory of claim 12, where the array of memory cells is a three dimensional macro-array.
16. The magnetic memory of claim 12, comprising a write circuit configured to provide write currents to set memory cell states and a read circuit configured to provide a sense voltage and a sense current to read memory cell states.
17. The magnetic memory of claim 12, where the first magnetic layer crosses a plurality of memory cells.
18. A magnetic memory comprising:
means for self-aligning at least one dimension of a magnetic layer with a conductor in a dielectric; and
means for supporting a planar barrier layer adjacent to the magnetic layer and the dielectric layer.
19. The magnetic memory of claim 18, where the means for self-aligning comprises side surfaces of a trench in the dielectric.
20. The magnetic memory of claim 18, where the means for supporting a planar barrier layer comprises the magnetic layer and the dielectric planarized to a planar surface.
21. A magnetic memory cell comprising:
a first magnetic layer in a recess in a dielectric;
a barrier layer formed in a plane on the first magnetic layer and the dielectric; and
a second magnetic layer formed on the barrier layer.
22. The magnetic memory cell of claim 21, where the first magnetic layer is a sense layer and the second magnetic layer is a reference layer.
23. The magnetic memory cell of claim 21, where the first magnetic layer is a reference layer and the second magnetic layer is a sense layer.
24. A method of forming a magnetic memory comprising:
forming a recess in a dielectric;
coating the dielectric with a first magnetic layer;
removing the first magnetic layer from outside the recess; and
forming a second magnetic layer outside the recess.
25. The method of claim 24, where forming the recess comprises:
forming a trench in the dielectric;
depositing conductive material in the trench; and
removing conductive material to form the recess in the trench.
26. The method of claim 25, where depositing conductive material comprises:
depositing ferromagnetic cladding to line the trench; and
depositing copper to fill the lined trench.
27. The method of claim 25, where removing conductive material comprises at least one from a group comprising etching the conductive material with an ion etch, etching the conductive material with a wet chemical etch and polishing the conductive material with a chemical mechanical polish.
28. The method of claim 24, where coating the dielectric comprises depositing a blanket first magnetic layer.
29. The method of claim 24, where coating the dielectric comprises depositing a blanket first magnetic layer and a blanket sacrificial layer.
30. The method of claim 24, where removing the first magnetic layer comprises polishing with a chemical mechanical polish to form a planar surface.
31. The method of claim 24, comprising:
forming a barrier layer between the first magnetic layer and the second magnetic layer; and
forming a second conductor over the second magnetic layer.
32. The method of claim 31, where forming the barrier layer comprises forming a blanket barrier layer over the dielectric and the first magnetic layer.
33. The method of claim 31, where forming the second magnetic layer comprises using a bit mask and forming the second conductor comprises using a line mask.
34. The method of claim 31, where the first magnetic layer, the barrier layer, the second magnetic layer and the second conductor are patterned using a line mask.
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